Bosch recently announced the new SG182 cordless drywall screwdriver, an 18-volt cordless tool aimed at commercial contractors for drywall and metal stud work. It’s being promoted as as “the first cordless screw gun to deliver the performance of a corded model without the limitations of a cord.” The benefits of that should be obvious, complete freedom of movement with no cords to snag, drag, or be rolled over and destroyed.
According to its maker, the SG182 has three times the runtime of its current competitors and can do a full day’s work on a single charge—driving 3,500 screws when equipped with a 4.0 Ah battery. Compatible with all Bosch 18-volt lithium ion batteries, the tool will drive even more fasteners per chage with the company’s new 5.0 pack (BAT621).
The SG182 has a familiar form-factor and can be held the same way as a corded drywall gun—with the back of motor housing tucked between forefinger and thumb. It has the same nose piece as the company’s corded models, forward and reverse, and a trigger that can be locked in the on position. The tool can be used by itself with bulk fasteners or with an optional auto-feed attachment (MA55) and collated fasteners.
The cordless drywall screwdriver is scheduled to be released in September 2014. The autofeed attachment is already available with one of the brand’s corded guns.
Battery: 18-volt Li-ion
Head length: 8.1 inches
Weight: 3.5 pounds (w FatPack); 2.9 (w SlimPack)
No-load speed: 0-4,200 rpm
Torque max (hard, soft): 25, 5 Nm
Features: LED light, belt hook, bit holder, lock-on trigger
Country of origin: Maylasia
Cost: $249 (bare with L-boxx inlay); $349 (tool, one 4.0Ah FatPack, charger, tool bag)
A few weeks back I saw and handled the European version (GSR 18 V-EC TE) of the SG182 at the National Hardware Show. I was surprised by how compact and light the tool was. It’s short front-to-back and the motor housing is extremely thin—the brushless motor probably accounts for that. The tool I handled had a 2.0 Ah Slim Pack. In that configuration the it weighs 2.9 pounds, making it the same weight as the average corded gun drywall gun.
The all-day runtime is predicated on using a heavier 4.0 Ah Fat Pack. If I was using this tool on a production basis I’d probably keep a mix of batteries around, Fat Packs for walls and Slim Packs for ceilings. The Slim Packs have less runtime, but say you could go four hours on one—that would be plenty of time to recharge a spare.
The 0-4,200 speed range is reasonable for a gun of this type. Most corded models run somewhere between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm.
There is not much else out there in this category being sold in the U.S. Makita offers the (LXSF01Z—sold bare) and Hilti the SD 4500-A18. Senco makes several models that take collated fasteners only but they are T-handle tools and can’t be held like a traditional drywall guns. A drywall contractor, Josh Overlin, reviewed the Hilti and Senco tools for JLC (the Hilti review is free; the Senco review requires a subscription). Overlin likes the Hilti guns and has been using them for a couple of years. He’s using 2.6 Ah batteries and says he gets two hours of full-out use per charge. It’s hard to know how that compares to Bosch’s claim of 3,500 screws or all-day use with a 4.0 Ah pack. Overlin is using the tools on a jobsite; Bosch is likely testing the tools in a lab.
In terms of tools, the last major change in the drywall trade was when nails were replaced by screws. Since then things have been more or less the same. Collated fastening systems have been making inroads, but on most jobsites hangers still fastening board with bulk fasteners and corded guns. Now that cordless is approaching the performance of corded it will be interesting to see how many of them decide it’s worth adopting the new technology.